COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. — Overnight temperatures are dropping, and volunteers in Cottage Grove are getting ready to open shelters Tuesday night to get people out of the cold.
Doors at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church open when the sun goes down.
“People arrive around 7 o’clock,” said Cindy Weeldreyer, Beds for Freezing Nights.
As they walk down the hall, they’re greeted.
“Our volunteers are right here at the sign in table,” Weeldreyer said.
And, they can sign in for a warm place to sleep overnight. With freezing temperatures in the forecast, Beds for Freezing Nights will be open through Friday night at the Catholic church.
“All the tables will be moved and then we will set up cots. The most that we’ve had so far has been four people at our last activation,” Weeldreyer said.
That was the week before Thanksgiving. Coordinators say the Egan Warming Centers in Eugene and Springfield have multiple locations, but it’s not as needed in Cottage Grove.
“It’s not like an Egan Center because we don’t have as big of a homeless population,” Weeldreyer said.
Weeldreyer says they see between four to five people on average, and some nights they might not see any. If no one checks in by 10 o’clock, volunteers go home for the night.
“We’re here all night. That’s part of our culture. If there’s one person that we can get off the freezing night, then we’re happy to do that,” Weeldreyer said.
For those who do show up, there’s more to do than just sleep.
“We have tables set up here. Some have board games on them, decks of cards,” Weeldreyer said. “We also have a table with food and a coffee pot.”
Coordinators say all the resources help them achieve their goal once people check in and close the door behind them until the sun comes up.
“To give folks that really don’t have a place to go a place where they can feel safe and respected and leave a little bit feeling good about themselves when they go,” Weeldreyer said.
Weeldreyer says pets are not allowed at the Catholic church, but the center is moving to the First Presbyterian Church Saturday where they’ll be allowed.
If you would like to volunteer to help, click here for more information.